This is a guest post by Sarah Standish, a Global Citizen Corps staff member.
I started out at as a casual reader at Global Voices Online, an organization that publishes articles about what bloggers are saying all over the world. Little did I know that a year later I'd be recruited to volunteer for the project as a translator, and that only a year after that I'd be participating in GV's bi-annual summit--something that I couldn't be more exited about!
The Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2010 will take place in early May in Santiago, Chile, a location chosen because of all the fantastic citizen media projects that are going on there.
But wait a minute. What's citizen media?
Basically, citizen media is content produced by citizen journalists--people who aren't professional journalists but who still work to spread news and opinions by blogging, starting a website, making a video, taking photos, or engaging in a huge range of other activities. They do this in order to make space for news and opinions that don't often appear in the mainstream media.
When writing about global news, for example, newspapers tend to quote powerful government officials and senior analysts, but not the average citizens of the country where an event is taking place. Global Voices, on the other hand, is there to summarize and translate some of those citizens' opinions when they're written up in blogs.
This kind of citizen media isn't intended to replace newspapers and television stations, but to complement them, and the two can work together, like when the BBC cooperated with Global Voices after the recent earthquake there to report on the fact that Chilean bloggers were unhappy with the way the media was ignoring the devastation that indigenous communities had suffered.
I'll be blogging more about citizen media before and after the summit--what I've learned, and what citizen journalists from around the world are working on.
Keep in mind, though, that citizen media isn't just something other people do. Is there an issue in your community that the media isn't paying enough attention to? You can be a citizen journalist and do something about it too.
(Photo: The 2008 Global Voices Summit, from carribeanfreephoto on flickr)